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Staging the Fascist War

The Ministry of Popular Culture and Italian Propaganda on the Home Front, 1938–1943

Series:

Luigi Petrella

Historians regard the Italian home front during the Second World War as an observation post from which to study the relationship between Fascism and society during the years of the collapse of the Mussolini regime. Yet the role of propaganda in influencing that relationship has received little attention. The media played a crucial role in setting the stage for the regime’s image under the intense pressures of wartime. The Ministry of Popular Culture, under Mussolini’s supervision, maintained control not only over the press, but also over radio, cinema, theatre, the arts and all forms of popular culture. When this Fascist media narrative was confronted by the sense of vulnerability among civilians following the first enemy air raids in June 1940, it fell apart like a house of cards.
Drawing on largely unexplored sources such as government papers, personal memoirs, censored letters and confidential reports, Staging the Fascist War analyses the crisis of the regime in the years from 1938 to 1943 through the perspective of a propaganda programme that failed to bolster Fascist myths at a time of total war.

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Acciaio 168 Acitrezza 123 Aden 85 Aegean Sea 49 aeropittura 83, 198 see also Futurism aeropoesia 83, 198–199 see also Futurism Aftonbladet 184 Agnelli, Giovanni 69n, 225 Air Ministry (Britain) 68, 89 see also Royal Air Force (raf) Air Ministry (Italy) 86, 95 see also Italian Air Force Albania, Italian invasion of 20, 26, 39, 49, 179, 198, 215 Alessi, Rino 125, 188 Alexander, Albert Victor 103 Alexandria 84, 85, 94 Alfa Romeo 113, 182 Alfieri, Dino 44, 95, 214 allarme aereo L’ (play) 159 Alvaro, Corrado 80, 219 Ancona 55 Andreotti, Giulio 219–220 Angelo della Parrocchia, L’ 119 anic (oil refinery) 124, 130 Ansaldo 68, 128 Ansaldo, Giovanni 176–177, 188, 216, 225 on mcp’s directives 32 on Pavolini 44–45 antifascism (Italy) 19, 74, 141, 142, 149n, 156, 167, 204 Aosta 56 Appelius, Mario 11, 125, 154, 188, 194, 195n, 218 Arandora Star, The 90–91 Argenta, Francesco 144 Artom, Emanuele 181 Ascalesi, Alessio 122, 201 Associated Press (news agency) 31 Asti 137 Athens 110, 208, 209 Attalo (pen name of Gioacchino Polizzi) 184 Attlee, Clement 108, 174 Audace, L’ 83 avanguardisti 25, 179 Avellino 147 Avventuroso, L’ 83 Badoglio, Pietro 98, 217 raises the issue of anti-aicraft defence 49–50 Baduel, Ugo 42 Balbo, Italo 19, 83 balilla 25, 39 Baracca, Francesco 83 Barberis, Paolo 137 Bardo, Carlotta 62 Bari 55, 109, 124 Basler Nachrichten 68 Bassi, Mario 207 Basta il succo di limone! (play) 160 Bastianini, Giuseppe 44 Battle of Britain see Corpo Aereo...

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